Auburn safety Rudy Ford didn’t say the words with any ill intent, but his comments on LSU’s talented sophomore running back Leonard Fournette won’t be received kindly in Baton Rouge.
When asked Tuesday afternoon if it would be difficult to stop the 6-foot-1, 230-pounder, he politely shook his head.
“That shouldn't be difficult, that much, of a challenge,” Ford said. “We've got a great front seven and even on the back end we're all going to be ready to tackle, but our biggest thing is our energy level. As soon as we get off that bus, we're ready to tackle. Don't take anything lightly. We all have to be ready to go.”
Fournette is coming off a career-best performance against Mississippi St. He put LSU on his back in a 21-19 win, setting career highs with 159 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries.
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Last season as a true freshman, he rushed for 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Ford said the key to slowing down a talented LSU offense would be keeping Fournette in check like Auburn did last year when it held him to 42 yards on 10 carries.
“The challenge is stopping No. 7,” Ford said. “It's going to be a big, physical game, get ready for pounding and that's what we're going to get ready for.”
Ford’s confidence in Auburn’s defense remains high despite the group giving up more than 400 total yards of offense in back-to-back games. On Saturday, the defense had serious issues slowing down FCS opponent Jacksonville St., and its mobile quarterback Eli Jenkins.
“We've got more than enough talent to do what we want to do this year,” Ford said. “It's not hard to believe at all. Don't count us out for anything.”
Auburn has lost seven straight to LSU on the road going back to 1999. If Ford is concerned about the atmosphere, he didn’t show it.
“It’s SEC play now and this is what everybody got recruited for,” Ford said. “We got more than enough to get the job done. We got a lot of playmakers on defense and on that side of the ball. We’re going to be ready to go.”